Robert Gibbs: Maybe my former bosses should explain this AP scandal

posted at 12:41 pm on May 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Via NRO’s Andrew Johnson, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs found himself back in an old position — having to answer for an administration that doesn’t provide a lot of answers.  On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough points out that the AP scandal (and the new scandal of spying on James Rosen at Fox) “gives the administration what they want,” which is an intimidated press corps and a frightened cadre of potential whistleblowers within the administration.  Gibbs tries to parse out the legitimacy of the leak investigation involving the AP, but admits that the Department of Justice has hardly bothered to make its own case:

Former Obama-administration press secretary Robert Gibbs said the DOJ has not provided enough of an explanation for its seizure of Associated Press reporters’ phone records, and that “the onus clearly on the Justice Department” to provide a clear explanation.

“Right now, we’ve sort of been struck by the fact that nobody’s explained why you needed such a broad subpoena, why so many people’s records were subpoenaed,” Gibbs said on Morning Joe today. “I know it’s difficult in the middle of an investigation, but I think, quite frankly, it’s something that’s sort of largely owed to the American people.”

Gibbs falls into the same trap as Barack Obama and the White House did in trying to justify this large-scale raid on the AP’s operations.  The basis of the investigation itself is undeniably legitimate.  The leak in that case came from inside a highly dangerous operation while it was in progress.  That’s the kind of leak that can get people killed, and we were fortunate that it apparently only went to a news organization that understood the potential consequences.  The AP cooperated with the CIA to keep the story under wraps until the operation concluded and people were out of harm’s way, but another leak like that by the same person or people might not end so benignly.  The Department of Justice has reason to investigate the leak.

On the other hand, their pursuit of the leak violated US code governing the process in seeking media records in a number of different ways.  Investigators apparently never even asked the AP for access to records in the first place, and they didn’t just keep their scope to the reports who worked the story but three offices involving dozens of reporters and two months worth of records.  The US code governing investigators was created in the wake of Watergate to protect the media from the government and ensuring that reporters can do their jobs in keeping government accountable, while providing Justice with ways to conduct legitimate investigations.

Given the cooperation shown by the AP after the leak, these violations are not just puzzling but unconscionable.  They are very obviously meant to be punitive and intimidating, attempting to scare one of the largest news agencies from probing the Obama administration too closely and warning potential sources that they cannot expect protection from any news agency.  After all, if the Obama administration can do this to the AP, they’re not likely to shy away from doing it to any other organization.

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100% approval of Obama is God in new AP/CNN/NYT poll

Viva destroy Amerika!!!

Yayyyyyyyyyy!

PappyD61 on May 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM

America is too lazy to live!!

PappyD61 on May 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Don’t blame me
-gibbsy

cmsinaz on May 20, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Every day, a Parade of Effing Parasites trying to
make excuses for this Administration….EVERY DAMN DAY.

ToddPA on May 20, 2013 at 12:46 PM

“I got out just in time.”

-Giblet

Bishop on May 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Who?

Shy Guy on May 20, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Isn’t Gibbs, like………….. irrelevant?

Shy Guy on May 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

What’s more important is this scandal needs to be brought into the open, as importantly for now as for the future. If this is ignored like the LSM still wants, what’s to stop a future Administration from doing the same thing? There’s no certainty we’ll never have another Nixon, and such people might be better at keeping it secret than Obama has been.

Liam on May 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

“gives the administration what they want,” which is an intimidated press corps and a frightened cadre of potential whistleblowers within the administration.

Welcome to Amerika, somewhere btw. the former USSR and the current Russia.

Media, suffocate, most all of you, from continuing to consume Obama’s shit. I hope that ‘Beluga caviar’ will make you suffer, long and painfully. You ruined the land, you toads of the world. May he ruin you all.

The USA has NO moral authority left. Period.

The collective world laughs at you, with all the good reasons.

Obama killed the last shred of decency and standing of the land.

Those who brung/kept him, from all sides, enjoy the demise. I hope he destroys you into oblivion.

Rome lasted much longer. This is freely self-inflicted and, thug, schadenfreudig beyond belief. Dummies should yell with idiocy. We’d need mufflers but the pain w/b palpable.

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

thug = thus

it was Freudian

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 12:53 PM

When Obama says we put Benghazi in its place
We heil heil right in Obama’s face
Not to love Obama is a great disgrace
So we heil heil right in Obama’s face

When Herr Biden says J-o-b-s own the world and space
We heil heil right in Herr Biden’s face
When Herr Miller says they’ll never audit dis place
We heil heil right in Herr Miller’s face
Are we not the MSM pure MSM
Ja we are the MSM (super duper MSM)
Is this Fascist land so good
Would you leave it if you could
Ja this Fascist land is good
We would leave it if we could
We bring the world to order
Heil Obama’s world to order
Everyone of Conservative race
Will love der fuehrer’s face
When we bring to the world dis order

/With only semi apologies to Spike Jones and his original, “Der Fuerer’s Face”

Vanceone on May 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Hey Mr. Fibbs — their anthem is Comfortably Numb. What do you expect?

platypus on May 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM

And that was the whole point of this program, and the program by the IRS attacking conservatives: intimidation.

The Obama government is intent on sending a very clear signal to its opponents: be quiet or we will destroy you.

You know, it’s funny. Liberals worried about all of this while Bush was in office, screaming about the PATRIOT act (which I agree, has all sorts of 4th Amendment problems). But, with the exception of skipping out on the FISA courts for his terrorist wiretaps (which again, was very wrong), he didn’t follow through on any of the things that liberals feared so much.

But Obama has done exactly what libs claimed Bush was going to do. And done it worse.

What’s that word again? Oh yeah: projection.

Chris of Rights on May 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM

MSM uses contacts to obtain classified national security information (a felony) + White Houses uses DOJ/FBI to sweep up broad swath of MSM communications (violation of First Amendment) = pissing contest between organized crime gangs.

BobMbx on May 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

OT:

Scientists say the recent downturn in the rate of global warming will lead to lower temperature rises in the short-term.

Since 1998, there has been an unexplained “standstill” in the heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this will reduce predicted warming in the coming decades.

But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly.

“We don’t know why global temperatures are deviating from our study, but we’re really sure we’ll be right later on.”

BobMbx on May 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Investigate the entire country for something – and then the Dems can conceal everything in the interest of not tainting an ongoing investigation.

Everything is criminal, everything is investigated, DoJ doesn’t have to divulge anything…ever.

All according to plan.

CycloneCDB on May 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM

They’re coming to take me away, haha

faraway on May 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

“We don’t know why global temperatures are deviating from our study, but we’re really sure we’ll be right later on.”

BobMbx on May 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

You forgot the most important part……

“We don’t know why global temperatures are deviating from our study, but we’re really sure we’ll be right later on.” All we need is a few million more in funding to prove it.

Happy Nomad on May 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Megyn Kelly and Shannon Bream talking about how it was not only Fox’s James Rosen but also William LaJeunesse and one producer.

CoffeeLover on May 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Greenwald: Obama’s War On Journalism Escalates

Resist We Much on May 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

He works for Faux News – so it’s okay!

CycloneCDB on May 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Buried in the 17th paragraph of one of those mewling New York Times pieces on the woes of Obama — can we start calling him Woe-bama yet? — appeared these two words: “going Bulworth.”
Obama himself, the Times explained, has been “longingly” telling his inner circle that what he’d really like to do is what Sen. Jay Bulworth, played by Warren Beatty in his 1998 movie “Bulworth,” did: to go public as an unabashed, angry and admitted socialist.

It’s as if Ronald Reagan had been caught saying he wanted to “Go Strangelove.”

In confessing his dreams of “going Bulworth,” Obama confirmed that what he thinks and what he says out loud are two different things. He let slip the mask of a center-left moderate — a “pragmatist” who only cares about “what works.” The press and even right-of-center columnists like Ross Douthat and David Brooks have always insisted that this completely unconvincing masquerade is genuine.

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

A targeting strategy i am 100% for.
 
HotAirLib on May 19, 2013 at 5:39 PM

rogerb on May 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Obama really screwed the pooch with this War on Media. All these other scandals have really gotten on the MSM radar since the revelation about spying on the AP. His synophantic media finally got its own ox gored and suddenly they realize all sorts of things about Obama that didn’t seem apparent to them before. And all because DOJ overreached in its investigation of the leaks.

Bitter Clinger on May 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Journos: If you haven’t been investigated by the OAd, you might be in the tank.

Resist We Much on May 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 1m

We’re gonna need a bigger fan: DOJ leaked docs to smear Fast & Furious whistleblower http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/20/DOJ-Inspector-General-confirms-US-Attorney-DOJ-headquarters-leaked-documents-to-smear-Fast-and-Furious-whistleblower

Resist We Much on May 20, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Journos: If you haven’t been investigated by the OAd, you might be in the tank.

Resist We Much on May 20, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Or, “We haven’t gotten around to you yet. But we will!”

I’m sure Obama loves the fawning LSM for their fawning. But deep down, I bet he resents them. They’re still too free. Plus, how many pathological liars truly respect the people who believe their lies?

Liam on May 20, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Amerika

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 1:19 PM

If the Food Stamps and other government freebies arrive on time much of America is satisfied…

albill on May 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Greenwald: Obama’s War On Journalism Escalates

Resist We Much on May 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Great piece. And frightening.

Chris of Rights on May 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM

“We don’t know why global temperatures are deviating from our study, but we’re really sure we’ll be right later on.”

BobMbx on May 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

It’s OK to debate the mass of a proton, or how many dimensions exist in physical space, but questioning AGW is heresy.

rightmind on May 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Another brilliant piece:

VDH: Nixon is a Fair Comparison

Chris of Rights on May 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM

you now most of these things can be laid at the feet in the belief that there is an “elite group” in this country who think they are smarter, better and more knowledgeable than the avg person. It is this belief by the likes of George Will and Noonan and others that makes them think if the avg person or a conservative thinks something then it must automatically be wrong. Therefor when conservative tried to tell them Obama was nothing but a thug/marxist that had to be 100% wrong and was just some type of racism to them. they went around with blinders on becaus eof their precieved betterment. to do anything else would have required them to rethink their entire worldview.

unseen on May 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Ok, it’s time for some heads to roll:

https://twitter.com/andylancaster/status/336527843674710016

Chris of Rights on May 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Wow, Gibbs almost looks intelligent compared to the stooge that replaced him.

acyl72 on May 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Oh yes. They’ve applauded his cowpies as caviar since day one, washing it all down with the koolaid.

onomo on May 20, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Wow, Gibbs almost looks intelligent compared to the stooge that replaced him.

acyl72 on May 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Get used to it, as this administration swirls around in the toilet bowl, it will become more difficult for them to hire people. See Drudge on Hillary staff fallout. Who wants a job where you might need to hire a personal lawyer?

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Machine Politics at its best.

He didn’t get the memo? Gibbs better watch himself.

The some members of the human cyclops collection on MSNBC’s Cycle show are concerned about ‘witch hunts’ destroying the faith of people in government.

They (LOL) see an apparent coincidence or “accident” between a Chicago politician in control of a vast police and regulatory network and ‘shoving it home hard’ to the tender areas of their political opponents.

Ha Ha Ha.

How stupid can you get?

IlikedAUH2O on May 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Great piece. And frightening.

Chris of Rights on May 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I’m not sure, but I can’t help but think that the left is all “outraged” about the AP scandal because it’s a distraction from more serious issues like Benghazi, the IRS and F&F. Those issues can’t be cloaked in quasi legality. The DOJ and the MSM will cover for Obama on the AP issue by pointing out (eventually) that there actually was a leak and a potential for security issues.
The IRS, Benghazi, and F&F have no such cover and therefore are more indicative of a corrupt intent and abuse of power.

Mimzey on May 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Get used to it, as this administration swirls around in the toilet bowl, it will become more difficult for them to hire people. See Drudge on Hillary staff fallout. Who wants a job where you might need to hire a personal lawyer?

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

All Hillary’s people have secondary jobs and gigs. Who can live on $150 K a year and federal benefits?

Um..that is public information and knowledge isn’t it?

I hope so…well it is now.

IlikedAUH2O on May 20, 2013 at 4:02 PM

The Ministry of the Current Truth has determined that AP and Fox News reporting of affairs is not in the interest of the regime. Therefore they have been named enemies of the state and will refer the matter to the IRS arm of state security.

Kuffar on May 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

/With only semi apologies to Spike Jones and his original, “Der Fuerer’s Face”

Vanceone on May 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

“RadioLand Murders” take two.

AesopFan on May 20, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Greenwald’s piece (RWM above) has a couple of interesting debate points embedded in the discussion.

(1) If reporters have as their MO the cajoling and massaging of government officials to persuade them to disgorge classified information, how is this different from the MO of foreign espionage agents?
(2) The piece asserts that publishing classified information (presumably as opposed to revealing it) is not a crime in the USA.
(3) If you were a foreign spy working undercover as a reporter, and got secret information from someone and then published it, would that accomplish a substantive goal of your country’s government?

Note that I am not supporting Obama’s pursuit of the media (which is a blatantly self-serving on-again-off-again affair, as Greenwald notes), and the administration is almost certainly classifying far too many documents in order to cover-up its actions; however, in the case of legitimate national security secrecy, how far can we go in justifying an “anything is fair game” policy for journalists?

AesopFan on May 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

fibbs …

stukinIL4now on May 20, 2013 at 7:30 PM